This trip to my grandmother’s small, middle Georgia Town was supposed to be highlighted by something special this time. At this particular time, my grandmother was the Mayor of the small town, which is another story in and of itself. She had invited my parents and all of us to make a visit on this particular day because the Town was going to have a special Founder’s Day Parade. We were told it was going to be a spectacular event with Marching Bands from the local High School; Fire Trucks and Police Cars from the area; winners of local beauty pageants; and of course the mandatory politicians of which my grandmother, the Mayor, was front and center.
When it was time for the parade, we lined the busy streets of the town anxiously awaiting the parade. Afterall, this was a town of less than 400 people so we wanted to get there early to be able to get a good viewing place on the street. I think I had seen more people at the buildings where I worked in Atlanta than were in the town that day, but it was interesting nonetheless.
After a few moments, you could hear the start of the parade with the sirens blasting from the one Fire Truck and one police car that protected the town. Then came the local High School Marching band which had obviously purchased new uniforms. They actually played terribly but that didn’t seem to matter. Then, of course, came all the politicians led by my grandmother, all doing the proverbial waves to the crowds. After what seemed only 10 or 15 minutes the parade was over.
What impressed me at the time was not the skill of the musicians in the band, or the fact the police and fire truck were not the latest models. It wasn’t that the politicians and others in the parade waved to the crowds any better than anyone else I had ever seen in parades. There was something different with the group. I think it was the pride and confidence of who they were that more than made up for what they lacked in resources. They didn’t care one little bit that I thought they were less than spectacular. They didn’t have the money of big city budgets. They didn’t have the latest equipment. They didn’t have the best of anything; in fact, you could argue that they probably had the worst of everything. Yet, that didn’t seem to matter. They were making the best impression they could (and a strong impression) despite what we would view as limitations.
I’ve used this lesson often in my Christian life. There have been times that I wouldn’t witness to someone because I didn’t think I knew enough about the bible. There were times I wouldn’t stand up for my Christian faith because I didn’t think I was a “polished” enough Christian to make the impression I wanted to make. There have been times in which I was ashamed to admit I was a Christian because my clothes were not the best and I was ashamed of what people may have thought.
As Christians, we have all that we need to make a powerful witness to others. What we have comes from our relationship with Christ and how we exhibit that relationship to others. It doesn’t come from what we wear; where we live; or that we don’t have the latest and greatest Christian witnessing tools that are available. Those in the World that are not Christian want to see Christians that are real.
Those that were in my grandmothers Founders Day parade were real. That’s what made the impression on me and that is what others will see in your life, it you will just allow that to happen.